Weekly #17: Wolverines Set to Host 27th Annual Len Paddock Invite

May 1, 2012

Thu-Fri., May 3-4
-- Len Paddock Invitational (Ferry Field), 3 p.m./Noon
Meet Information | Live Results | Parking Map | Heat Sheet

The University of Michigan women's track and field team will host its only home meet of the outdoor season with the Len Paddock Invitational on Thursday and Friday (May 3-4) at Ferry Field. The men's and women's hammer throw will be contested on Thursday starting at 3 p.m., while the remainder of the events will be held on Friday beginning at noon. The men's and women's 5,000-meter run, which was scheduled to begin on Friday at 9 a.m. has been cancelled.

Parking is free of charge and will be available starting at 1 p.m. on Thursday and all day on Friday. All fans are encouraged to park in SC-7 -- the Lower Blue Lot near Crisler Center.


Athletes in Action this Weekend -- Tofunmi Akeredolu, Meg Bellino, Erin Busbee, Charlotte Cahill, Dana Carey, Courtney Clancy, Ariel Dempsey, Joanna Fleming, Nicola Hallenborg, Brook Handler, Shelby Hines, Brianna Jenkins, Allison Liske, Chinyere Onimo, Anna Pasternak, Megan Pearson, Emily Pendleton, Erin Pendleton, Kari Prena, Chloe Prince, Nicole Prince, Amber Smith, Kiley Tobel, Ada Unachukwu and Victoria Wesley.

Setting the Scene -- Michigan hosted the inaugural meet in 1986 to honor former U-M athletic trainer Len Paddock. Ferry Field has a permanent place in track and field history. As a collegian at Ohio State University, Jesse Owens set three world records and tied another as a sophomore at the 1935 Big Ten Conference Championships held at the University of Michigan's facility. Described as the greatest day in track and field history, a plaque commemorating Owens' accomplishment stands at the southeast corner of Ferry Field.

Michigan will welcome teams from Western Michigan, York, Central Michigan, Michigan State, Oakland University, Defiance, Toronto, Bowling Green and Eastern Michigan.

Rewriting the Record Book -- Junior/sophomore Kiley Tobel (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Western) set a new school record in the outdoor pole vault, clearing a lifetime-best height of 4.16 meters (13-7.75) at the Payton Jordan Invitational on Sunday (April 29). Tobel now owns the indoor and outdoor pole vault records at Michigan after she recorded a mark of 4.23m (13-10.50) at the Silverston Invitational on Feb. 18.

Steeplechase Success -- Sophomore Alex Leptich (Ann Arbor, Mich./Saline), who won the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Stanford Invitational on April 6, competed in the event at last weekend's Payton Jordan Invitational along with freshman Anna Pasternak (Brighton, Mich./Hartland). Leptich (10:21.45) finished 16th in section two, while Pasternak (11:02.82) took 12th in section three. Pasternak and fellow freshman Brook Handler (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester) made their 3,000-meter steeplechase debuts at the Sea Ray Relays on April 13. Handler and Pasternak finished in third and fifth place, respectively, in times of 10:51.76 and 11:02.49.

Leptich's steeplechase win at the Stanford Invitational marked her season debut. Sophomore Megan Weschler (Wyandotte, Mich./Roosevelt) also made her first steeplechase appearance of the season at Stanford. Leptich won section two of the event with a 42-second personal record of 10:11.85, while Weschler took 15th in a personal-best time of 10:38.17. As freshmen, Leptich and Weschler finished 15th and 23rd, respectively, in the steeple at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships. In the summer of 2011, Leptich won her second straight steeplechase crown at the 2011 Pan American Junior Championships. Michigan's only Big Ten champion in the steeple was Anna Willard in 2007.

Multi-Madness -- Sophomore Erin Busbee (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood) is Michigan's primary multi-event competitor. Busbee completed her first heptathlon of the season at the Sea Ray Relays, held April 11-12, finishing third with 4,947 points. She took first place in four of the seven events (long jump, javelin, high jump and shot put) and recorded five personal-best marks. In preparation for the Big Ten Championships (May 11-13), Busbee will compete in three events at the Len Paddock Invitational -- the 100-meter hurdles, high jump and shot put.

Junior/sophomore multi-event athlete Sara Nitz (Zeeland, Mich./Zeeland East) returned to the track for the first time since 2011 at the Al Owens Classic (April 21). After competing in just two meets during the 2011 outdoor season, an injury forced her to miss the remainder of the season. Nitz competed in the high jump at Grand Valley State, clearing a height of 1.55 meters (5-1). During her freshman campaign in 2010, Nitz placed 11th in the heptathlon at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships. She also participated in the heptathlon at the 2010 Hillsdale Relays.

Among The Big Ten's Best
Several Michigan track and field athletes rank among the top 10 in the Big Ten with just one event remaining until the conference meet, which will be hosted by the University of Wisconsin from May 11-13.

Name Event Time/Mark Rank
Jillian Smith (R-So.) 800m Run 2:06.89 3
Rebecca Addison (Jr.) 800m Run 2:06.96 4
Jillian Smith (R-So.) 1,500m Run 4:13.94 1
Rebecca Addison (Jr.) 1,500m Run 4:17.16 3
Mary Grace Pellegrini (R-Jr.) 10,000m Run 34:23.25 4
Amber Smith (So.) 100m Hurdles 13.74 8
Alex Leptich (So.) 3,000m Steeple 10:11.85 2
Amber Smith, Charlotte Cahill,
Brittani Williams, Jillian Smith
4x400m Relay 3:43.68 9
Kiley Tobel (R-So.) Pole Vault 13-7.75 ft. 2
Ada Unachukwu (Jr.) Triple Jump 41-4.25 ft. 7
Allison Liske (R-Sr.) Shot Put 51-10 ft. 7
Emily Pendleton (R-Sr.) Shot Put 51-4.25 ft. 8
Emily Pendleton (R-Sr.) Discus 179-4 ft. 2
Erin Pendleton (Jr.) Discus 178-2 ft. 3
Emily Pendleton (R-Sr.) Hammer 186-11 ft. 8
Erin Busbee (So.) Heptathlon 4,947 points 7

Sensational Sisters -- The dynamic duo of sisters, fifth-year senior Emily Pendleton and junior Erin Pendleton (Lindsey, Ohio/Woodmore), has dominated the Big Ten discus scene over the last three years. Emily won the Big Ten title in 2008 and 2009 and Erin took the crown in 2010. After winning the title in 2010, Erin was named Big Ten Outdoor Freshman of the Year. Erin finished fourth at last year's conference meet and went on to finish 21st the NCAA Championships, while Emily redshirted the 2011 indoor and outdoor seasons.

In their three throwing events, the pair currently owns four Big Ten top-10 rankings. Emily and Erin rank second and third in the discus, respectively, while Emily also ranks eighth in the hammer and shot put.

Best of the Best -- Six Michigan athletes rank among the top 25 in the nation in their respective events. Sophomore Alex Leptich (Ann Arbor, Mich./Saline) ranks 15th in the country in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 10:11.85. Sisters fifth-year senior Emily Pendleton and junior Erin Pendleton (Lindsey, Ohio/Woodmore) rank 13th and 16th, respectively, in the discus with throws of 54.66 meters (179-4) and 54.30 meters (178-2). Junior/sophomore Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) and junior Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven) ran their way into the top 25 of the 1,500-meter run, running personal records last weekend at the Payton Jordan Invitational. Smith ran 4:13.94, while Addison ran 4:17.16 to move into the sixth and 18th spots in the country, respectively. Junior/sophomore Kiley Tobel (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Western) also set a new personal record in the pole vault, clearing a school-record setting height of 4.16m (13-7.75), which ranks 21st in the nation.

Last Time on the Track: Michigan split its squad three ways last weekend to compete in the Drake Relays, Hillsdale Relays and Stanford Payton Jordan Invitational.

Drake Relays -- Fifth-year senior Emily Pendleton (Lindsey, Ohio/Woodmore) qualified for the finals of all three throwing events, finishing fifth in the discus (52.86 meters, 173-5), ninth in the hammer throw (55.49 meters, 182-1) and 10th in the shot put with a season-best mark of 15.65 meters (51-4.25). On the track, senior Mary Grace Pellegrini (Louisville, Ky./DuPont Manual) shaved 13 seconds off her previous season-best 5,000-meter run time to finish eighth in 16:43.22.
[ MGoBlue Recaps: Day One | Day Two | Day Three ]

Hillsdale Relays -- Michigan won seven event titles at the Hillsdale Relays. Junior Charlotte Cahill (Farmington Hills, Mich./North Farmington) won the championship section of the 100-meter and 200-meter dash, clocking times of 12.28 and 24.62, respectively. [ MGoBlue Recaps: Day One | Day Two ]

Payton Jordan Invitational -- Junior/sophomore Kiley Tobel (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Western) set a new school record in the outdoor pole vault, clearing a lifetime-best height of 4.16 meters (13-7.75) to finish second. In the 1,500-meter run, junior/sophomore Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) clocked the fastest time in the Big Ten this season -- a personal-best time of 4:13.94 -- to finish seventh in section two. In section three, junior Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven) took fifth in a personal-best time of 4:17.16. [ MGoBlue Recap ]

Personal Improvement -- Throughout the three meets Michigan competed in last weekend, 10 Michigan athletes recorded new personal records. After seven meets this outdoor season, 23 Wolverines have set new PRs in at least one event, with seven improving in at least two events. During the 2012 indoor season, 42 student-athletes recorded new PRs.

In the Rankings -- Michigan fell one spot to No. 5 in the fifth Great Lakes Region poll released Tuesday (May 1) by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). U-M is one of six Big Ten schools in the Great Lakes Region, including No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Wisconsin, No. 4 Michigan State, No. 6 Indiana, and No. 12 Purdue.

Fresh Faces -- Michigan added 17 new student-athletes to the roster this season -- 17 freshmen and one transfer. Of those 18, nine competed for the Wolverines during the indoor track and field season. Shannon Osika (Waterford, Mich./Mott) highlighted the group of newcomers as the only freshman in the country to advance to the finals of the mile at the NCAA Indoor Championships. She earned All-America second team honors after placing ninth.

Seven Wolverine freshmen made their collegiate outdoor debuts in the first three meets of the season. Brook Handler (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester) was the most-recent Wolverine to make her first career outdoor appearance, running the 1,500-meter at the Yellow Jacket Invitational on March 31. Two redshirt freshmen have also made their collegiate outdoor debuts -- Erica Crane (Dearborn, Mich./Divine Child) and Ariel Dempsey (Jenison, Mich./Jenison).

Four Wolverines will make their season debut at the Len Paddock Invitational on Friday (May 4). Sisters, senior/junior Nicole Prince (Okemos, Mich./Okemos) and junior/sophomore Chloe Prince (Okemos, Mich./Okemos)will each compete in the 800-meter run. Junior/sophomore Courtney Clancy (Richland, Mich./Gull Lake) will make her outdoor season debut, while sophomore/freshman Megan Pearson (Paw Paw, Mich./Paw Paw)will appear in her first collegiate outdoor meet, both running the 1,500-meter.

Same Name -- The Wolverines have three sets of sisters on the 2012 team in addition to four other sets of same last names. Sisters Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven) and Laura Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven) both compete in distance events; Emily Pendleton (Lindsey, Ohio/Woodmore), and Erin Pendleton (Lindsey, Ohio/Woodmore), both throw; and Chloe Prince (Okemos, Mich./Okemos) and Nicole Prince (Okemos, Mich./Okemos) both run mid-distance for the Wolverines. In addition, Alicia Patterson (DeWitt, Mich./DeWitt) and Kaitlyn Patterson (Cadillac, Mich./Cadillac), Amber Smith (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood) and Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional), Chelsey Miller (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) and Samantha Miller (Edina, Minn./Edina), and Alexandria Williams (Wallingford, Pa./Strath Haven) and Brittani Williams (Detroit, Mich./Jackson) all share last names but are not related.

Leaders of the Pack -- Fifth-year senior Emily Pendleton (Lindsey, Ohio/Woodmore), senior Alexandria Williams (Wallingford, Pa./Strath Haven) and junior Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven) will continue to serve as team captains for the 2012 outdoor season. Pendleton repeats as captain for the second season, having captained the Wolverines in 2010, while Williams and Addison were selected to represent the Maize and Blue for the first time.

2011 Outdoor Rewind -- Michigan returns one Big Ten outdoor champion and two athletes who competed in the NCAA Indoor Championships in 2011. Junior Rebecca Addison (Spring Lake, Mich./Grand Haven) won her first Big Ten outdoor title in the 1,500-meter run at last year's conference championships. The Wolverines were represented by junior Erin Pendleton (Lindsey, Ohio/Woodmore) in the discus and junior/sophomore Kiley Tobel (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Western) in the pole vault at the national meet. Both athletes earned All-America honorable mention in their respective events.

2012 NCAA OUTDOOR CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING -- For the third consecutive season, the East and West Preliminary Championship competition will be utilized to qualify for the NCAA Championships. Using a descending order list, the top 48 athletes in each event will participate in two rounds (first round and quarterfinals) during the Preliminary Round. Twelve competitors from each individual event and 12 teams from each relay event will advance from each Preliminary Championship competition to the NCAA Championships. There are no qualifying marks used during the outdoor season. This year's NCAA East Preliminary Round will be held at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Fla.

Michigan women's track and field is on Facebook. Connect with the program, alumni and fans by clicking the "Like" button at facebook.com/michiganwomenstrack. Also, be sure to follow the team on Twitter (@umichtrack) for up-to-the-minute news and information throughout the season and beyond.

Fri-Sun., May 11-13 -- at Big Ten Outdoor Championships (Madison, Wis.), 3 p.m./9 a.m./11 a.m. CDT